Posted: 03/28/2010 02:25:15 AM PDT
Updated: 03/28/2010 02:25:16 AM PDT
BENICIA -- The city is a quaint, attractive, safe small town and waterfront community visited by people of all ages. That's the conclusion of a group of volunteers who interviewed more than 90 visitors during three weekends this month.
The volunteers wanted to chip in public feedback as the city develops a 20-month marketing plan to promote Benicia tourism appeal, Benicia Economic Development Committee member Christina Strawbridge said.
The results will be shared with the committee at a special meeting Wednesday.
"It confirms what some of our previous surveys found," said Strawbridge said. "It's really going to be important for us to keep track of who we're attracting."
The survey found most visitors came from Contra Costa and Solano counties. Many are connected to Benicia via family and friends.
Visitors said they came for a few hours, or up to a day, enjoying dining, shopping, sightseeing, walking and other leisurely activities.
They also offered a number of suggestions to enhance Benicia's attractiveness, although no one recommendation stood out as "significant" to the survey takers.
Nearly 23 percent of respondents advocated more activities, such as events downtown, a bigger farmers market, more attractions for children and more summer activities.
Most respondents had visited Benicia more than once and planned to return. "Most of the people are going to be day trippers," Economic Development Committee member JB Davis said. "Clearly we're trying to get people in a 50-mile radius."
Asked what they didn't like about Benicia, some people mentioned "closed or empty stores" or "stores not open on Sundays." Others cited windy weather and a perceived lack of activities.
The city has set aside $280,000 for a marketing plan, which is being developed with pubic input by Wolf Communications. The firm has done similar work for small cities like Calistoga and Healdsburg, as well as bigger communities such as Santa Rosa and the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau.
Contact staff writer Tony Burchyns at tburchyns@timesherald online.com or (707) 553-6831.